Friday, October 8, 2010

I've always thought of myself as a healthy person - I took pride in it....

I've had some health thing come out in my life, but instead of taking time to write it all out, which I really can't do, because I don't feel too well, I'm going to cut and past the story from other sources:

July 7th:

Late in my pregnancy I started to have a racing heart beat on occasion. I would just be sitting down or something, and I would get short of breath, like I'd been running, and if I measured my pulse it was between 100-120 beats a minute (by the end of my pregnancy it would get to 130 bpm). So I told my midwives about this, and after it had gone on for a couple of weeks they recommended me to a cardiologist. I didn't have my appointment with him until almost a week after Guinevere was born, and after her birth I hadn't had this happen again that I had noticed, but he still wanted to check things out.

So the heart doctor ordered an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart, basically. According to it, my heart pump flow is on the very low end of normal, and the Doctor thinks that I might have pregnancy induced Cardiomyopathy. Most of the time after pregnancy the condition resolves itself, but just to check and make sure, I have another echocardiogram scheduled for september. Hopefully at that point everything will be honky dory. If not, I don't know - because the doctor didn't say anything.

Anyway, so this will probably all come to nothing - although I read up on Google Health, and if it happens in one pregnancy, it'll often happen in subsequent ones, and you can be advised to not have anymore children, to avoid triggering worse peripartum cardiomyopathy. Although I didn't have very bad symptoms at all, I am worried that if I have another child, at that point they would get worse. I've always wanted a large family, so for me only having four children would be difficult. But...having a working heart is much more important that a larger family. Anyway, maybe I won't develop it again in a subsequent pregnancy. But, the possibility is there.

So there is my completely not conclusive status of my health.

Sept. 9th:

So, I had my second echocardiogram. Normal Heart Pump flow is 55%-65% (percent of what, I actually don't know). Back in June when they did one, mine was as 45%-50%. This time it was up to 50-55%, so still low, but not worrisomely low, really. So....Basically they scheduled another echocardiogram in a year, to see how I'm doing then. Plus, I asked the doctor about having more children, and he first asked me if I was planning on having any more, and then how long we were planning on waiting, and thought about it for a minute, and finally said, yes, he thinks I'll probably be fine getting pregnant again. Basically, if there is a problem with another pregnancy, then I'd probably be done, but they don't know if there would be a problem again.

Good news, really. As good as I hoped for.

Anyway I got sick over the weekend, and additionally have had a cough for a month, and through a series of events (higher heart rates again, among others), ended up at the Urgent Care on Wednesday, and that doctor then told me to go to the ER. So we did, and after being there for five hours, they did a CT scan, and found out that I had both Pneumonia and hyperthyroidism.

Here are the updates from facebook after this: There is a chance of Grave's Disease, which is a more serious complaint, but they caught it pretty early.

I'm home from the hospital now. Thank you all for your prayers and comments. I'm feeling better than I was - I'm on a beta-blocker that lowers my heartbeat from resting at 120s-130s (up to 150s, 160s and above with any movement) to resting at about 96 bpm. It actually allowed me to sleep last night, which was wonderful.

I'm also on an antiobiotic for the pneumonia and an anti-thyroid medication for the hyperthyroidism. But in good news, the underlying thyroid problem (as soon as the thyroid medicine sufficiently lowers my heart-rate, I'll be weaned off of... the beta-blocker) is easily treatable with medicine - although, I have an 80% of it turning into hypothyroidism after a year or so. Aleatha cleaned my house today, and took care of my kids, while I rested and slept all day today. Avram's mom is coming tomorrow, and taking care of me and the family for two weeks, until I get better from the pneumonia and we move (by the way, we're moving to a house in two weeks.)

I'm still able to nurse Guinevere, after a day of her getting bottles of formula (I couldn't nurse her for a day after my CT scan that showed them my diagnosis), and she took to bottles with no problem at all, thank God. In about a month they'll test me for Grave's disease, and then I won't be able to nurse her for a month (because the radioactive dye has to decay sufficently). I have an electric pump now, thanks to my insurance, so the plan is to pump for a month, and have her drink formula for that time, and then continue nursing afterwards. I don't know if it will work, but I'm going to try.

If I do have Graves' they've cought it early enough that they should be able to manage it very well. (It's an auto-immune disease, so they can't cure it, they can only treat the symtoms).
And compared to cardiomyopathy, which every doctor prior to my CT scan thought I had, it's a much, much better diagnosis.

Over all, I'm home and feeling much better, because my heart isn't racing continuously, like it did on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Although I have to basically not move or do anything, because then I won't recover from the pnemonia (it's not really related to the other disease, it just happened at the same time).

My favorite part of conference wasn't any of the actual talks, it was between them, when they played a dramatization of Elder Holland's talk about trials, and his story of his car that kept dying in the middle of no where, and how we'll all have trials, be we will get through them, and things will get better, if not in this life, in the next. I guess it was good timing for me in my life, it turned out.

Oh, and a post script on the whole children thing - I can have more children with this difficulties - they'll just have to moniter me closely to adjust my thyroid medication. Can I be honest and shallow for a moment? The one thing I knew about hypothyroidism before yesterday is that you gain weight on it, and it's almost impossible to lose because your thyroid affects your metabolism. And so now I'm sad, knowing most likely if I have any more children, I'll have a very, very difficult time losing the baby weight. I know it's somewhat shallow, but there you go.


  1. Oh Thora, I am glad that things are getting figured out and on their way to being resolved.
    And I don't think your postscript was shallow. Unless I am, too.

  2. So glad you're doing okay. I'll still keep you in my thoughts and prayers that things continue to resolve so you're able to do things on your own, as you want to. And you are the last person I'd ever call shallow. Period.

  3. well we can be shallow together cause i hate my hypothyroidism and the not being able to lose baby weight. im so glad you are alive though and home with your family again

  4. Thinking of you and hoping things go well. I am glad at least they are figuring some things out for you. Not knowing about health stuff is the worst.

  5. I'm glad they found out what the problems was--I have a good friend who was having hypothyroid problems.

  6. I got Grave's after Mabel was born, and it wasn't diagnosed as quickly. She was about a year old when I finally dragged myself to a doctor. By then I was actually quite thin b/c of the racing metabolism, although I later gained weight since my body thought I was starving. I hate to say that the Graves' and other health problems (subsequent hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome) have indeed caused a lot of weight gain for me. :( But you might be fine once things are in balance.

    I was able to be diagnosed without the use of radioactive dye, which I recommend if you are nursing. I think having enough of the symptoms is a good enough diagnosis, or anyway my doctor thought so. (In addition to the racing heart, do you have shaky hands, heat intolerance, hair loss, dry skin, "brain fog," and dry/sore/light-sensitive eyes?)

    I'm going to try to find an anti-RAI thing I once wrote up for a friend (because it's long and I don't want to type it all up again). I'll be back.

  7. Well, drat, I can't find the thing I wrote. I can even find a follow up email but not the original. Oh, well.

    Basically the standard treatment for Grave's in the U.S. is Radioactive Iodine Ablation (RAI). Since the thyroid is the only part of the body that absorbs iodine, radioactive iodine can kill the thyroid without harming anything else. That's right, *kill* the thyroid. And in most cases I see no reason for this if the thyroid can be treated with medication, especially because the longer a patient is on medication, the more the likelihood she will go into remission. To me RAI seems like excising a kidney or other important organ when it could be kept working without destroying it.

    My friend has a nightmare blog post about having to be all alone in a hospital room for several days (maybe a week?) separated from her very young baby while she waited for the radioactivity to wear off. She was NOT able to continue breastfeeding. Also, with RAI you almost always end up hypothyroid. Although some people do anyway--I'm mildly hypothyroid now, presumably because my thyroid burned itself out--it's less probable without RAI, and my hypothyroidism is treatable with a very small dose of medication, which might not have been the case if I'd had RAI. ALSO, RAI does not treat Thyroid Eye Disease (a separate but correlating disease which you may or may not have) and there is no treatment for TED (other than, sometimes, surgery to scrape away eye socket bone to make more room for bulging eyeballs!) but in my case my TED got better when my Grave's went into remission. This is not what doctors would predict would happen, but it did happen for me.

    Since there's already a shortage of endocrinologists it can be hard to find a doctor who will treat you if you decline RAI, because it's a longer and more tedious treatment without RAI (requiring regular labwork to adjust medication levels). (I have become FAR more familiar with phlebotomists than anyone would ever wish).

    Good luck! I am glad you've been diagnosed so quickly and hope you'll feel much better soon. Oh, and my PCOS has caused me much worse weight problems than the Grave's did, so good luck with that as well.

  8. Thats so crazy! I'm glad you are ok. What a blessing that this only came after your three gorgeous girls. I hope you stay so healthy. You are in our prayer.

  9. So sad to hear of your health troubles! I'm glad they're starting to figure things out. You sound like you're having a great attitude about moving forward. Best of luck!

  10. of course! a healthier person you

  11. Wow! I tune out for a while and you go to the ER. I'm so sorry! I hope all the meds and taking it easy get things back to a healthy, comfortable level for you.

    I would say that concern about weight gain is not shallow. It affects so many, many things. At least, you aren't starting out heavy. That would make it even harder.

  12. Man. I go blog-reading AWOL for a couple of months and my lovely Thora goes and has a life-altering illness. What is the world coming to?

    I love you. I'm glad things are being figured out. I hope you are still planning to be in Washington for Christmas, because we are still planning on seeing you. And I can't wait to meet Guenivere!